Mark di Suvero's PeaceTower, Los Angeles, 1966, also known as the Artists' Tower against the War in Vietnam.
THE PEACE TOWER
re-created by Mark di Suvero and Rirkrit Tiravanija
March 2 - May 28, 2006
Whitney Museum of American Art
Mark di Suvero and Rirkrit Tiravanija have assembled more than 180 artists in the creation of a Peace Tower, rising outside the museum's entrance with its base planted in the Sculpture Court. The tower is the re-creation of a project, the "Artists' Tower Against the War in Vietnam," first constructed in 1966 in Los Angeles by the Artists' Protest Committee. The structure for the first Peace Tower, based on an idea from participating artist Irving Petlin, was designed by sculptor Mark di Suvero, and erected at the intersection of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards. The structure was surrounded by hundreds of individual panels, each 2' by 2', sent by artists from all over the world.
The artists who participated in the original 1966 Peace Tower included Larry Bell, Judy Chicago, Elaine de Kooning, Mark di Suvero, Sam Francis, Leon Golub, Donald Judd, Max Kozloff, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, the poet Frank O'Hara, Ad Reinhardt, Larry Rivers, James Rosenquist, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, George Segal, and George Sugarman, among many others. At that time, the call to artists declared, "We artists today, each day, attempt to summon creative energy in an atmosphere polluted with the crime, the moral decay that is the reality of the war in Vietnam. It is no longer possible to work in peace... Here we speak in the manner native to us as artists."
Details from the original PeaceTower, Los Angeles, 1966.
The 2006 Biennial PeaceTower includes the work of some 180 artists, again on 2' by 2' panels. Among the contributors to the new Peace Tower are Carl Andre, John Baldessari, Matthew Barney, Dara Birnbaum, John Bock, Chakaia Booker, E.V. Day, Tacita Dean, Sam Durant, Olafur Eliasson, Joy Garnett, Joseph Grigely, Hans Haacke, Pierre Huyghe, Sol Lewitt, Robert Mangold, Jonas Mekas, Yoko Ono, Irving Petlin (an originator of the 1966 project), James Rosenquist (one of the original contributors), Martha Rosler, Dread Scott, Kiki Smith, Yutaka Sone, Nancy Spero, Fred Tomaselli, Lawrence Weiner, and Andrea Zittel. An effort was made to invite as many of the original artists as possible to contribute panels to the current project.
"The Peace Tower is a powerful statement of protest," said Biennial curators Chrissie Iles and Philippe Vergne. "By constructing it outside the museum's entrance for all to see, Mark and Rirkrit remain true to the spirit of the original. The tower gives us a chorus of strong artists' voices in a very public reminder that art is being made in a world that is, in the words of Antonin Artaud, 'a theatre of cruelty.'"